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ForgettingMyths, Perils and Compensations$
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Douwe Draaisma

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300207286

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300207286.001.0001

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The Man Who Forgot Faces

The Man Who Forgot Faces

(p.76) Chapter Four The Man Who Forgot Faces

Douwe Draaisma

, Liz Waters
Yale University Press

This chapter discusses a neurological condition known as “face blindness,” that makes people unable to remember faces, even those of individuals they interact with on a daily basis. People with this disorder do often correctly identify people they know, but by relying on clues that most of us, who do not have this particular handicap, use subconsciously, such as clothing, hairstyle, or voice. The official identification of the disorder dates to 1947 as a direct result of the Second World War. The chapter describes the story of a 24-year-old soldier who was wounded by a shell on March 18, 1944. His operation notes record that pieces of shrapnel were removed from his brain. While his concentration, intelligence, and motor skills all functioned without any significant problems, he was unable to recognize those he knew by looking at their faces.

Keywords:   face blindness, human memory, face recognition, forgetting

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